Category Archives: Head for the Van Wyck

cab poem #9 or the poem my publisher’s afraid of

6 A.M.

ave a & 1st

an older dyke

going to park slope

says nothing.

smokes her cigarettes

making me stop

        on atlantic ave

      to buy more.

at the brownstone

  she asks me

         to come in.

i say no

i’m working,     lady.

she says

     i got no money

     need to go inside

     get it from my friend.

i say

leave me the leather jacket.

comes back

     no money

     comes back at 2

i say

  too much traffic

           an empty cab

           into brooklyn

   a loss of an hour.

i give my name & address

mail it


     i’m kissing my 10 bucks goodbye.

the next day

    in the bookstore

    front cover

    looks just like her.

i think

i could’ve parked the car

     gone in

and fucked camilla paglia

and sold the story

      for the 10 bucks.

© 1994 –Vittoria repetto

About Vittoria repetto

Vittoria repetto is a native downtown lesbian butch who grew up in the Greenwich Village. She is the daughter of immigrant Italian parents; from Liguria on her father’s side and Lombardy on her mother’s side.

Vittoria repetto has been published in Mudfish, Voices in Italian Americana, Rattle, Lips, The Paterson Literary Review, Italian Americana, Unsettling American: An Anthology of Contemporary Multicultural Poetry, Identity Lessons: Learning American Style, The Milk of Almonds: Italian American Women Writers on Food & Culture, and Harrington Lesbian Fiction Quarterly among others.

She has a chapbook entitled Head For the Van Wyck that contains a poem that her current publisher refused to print for fear of being sued by Camille Paglia.

In 2006, Guernica Editions published her first full length poetry book, Not Just A Personal Ad.
Since its release in Fall 2006 Vittoria repetto’s first poetry book Not Just A Personal Ad has won accolades; in a Lambda Book Report column, poet and reviewer Rigoberto Gonzalez wrote “Poems of intense sensibility and gorgeous imagery are a rarity these days; but this book of verse by a distinctly working class, distinctly lesbian, and distinctly Italian American voice is a must for all readers of good poetry.”

Chuck Forester in his Winter 2007 Lambda Book Report said: “My joy in reading these poems was Repetto’s rebel energy. She revels in her lust without avoiding her history. This is also a woman of courage as she negotiates the complexities of a multicultural existence. She tunes in to people who ride in her cab; she loves the city and the love of women. For her sex is freedom to indulge her desire; it is not possessive but an exchange of pleasure. Growing up in an age when all things sexual were disguised in metaphor, or never mentioned. I found her candor refreshing and stripped of anxiety.”
And the poet Edward Field said: “Her poetry has what T.S. Eliot and Wallace Stevens and the rest of them lack, clinging as they all do to their elitist view of poetry. I’d say she’s exactly what poetry needs — she returns it to the people, even if the people, as Gerry Locklin says, don’t read poetry. But maybe if more poets start writing like her, they will, or at least listen to it.”

Her poems have been chosen as “Editor’s Choice” in the Paterson Literary Review for five times since 2003.
She was a judge in the 2005 Publishing Triangle’s Audre Lorde Award for Lesbian Poetry & Thomas Gunn Award for Gay Poetry
Vittoria repetto was the vice president and the newsletter editor of the Italian American Writers Association from 1992 to 2012 and she has been hosting the Women’s/Trans’ Poetry Jam at Bluestockings Bookstore since its opening in 1999.